Poetry continues to flow through my life and I am grateful. It’s taking a variety of forms, and one of them is a series of responses to the Psalms. I’ve found myself taking a Lectio Divina-type approach to the psalms I encounter on Sundays: reading through them again later, paying attention to what I notice, then responding in the form of poetry. It’s been illuminating, sometimes difficult, and ultimately revealing and gratifying.
I’ve already posted one of the results of what I’m calling Psalm Flights: “Toggle Back to God.” Today I thought I would share a couple more examples of what has come forth through this process. As you read and reflect on these poems that have emerged from my prayerful reflections on Psalm 1, I invite you to consider whether God might be inviting you to incorporate Lectio Divina into your own spiritual life in some way.
Verse 1: Happy are those who do not…take the path that sinners tread.
Where are the street signs, O God?
I want to know which roads lead sin-ward
But you do not label them so freely.
At this moment
Each thoroughfare begins in the same place:
Right here, right now.
It’s impossible for me to know
The path that sinners tread.
I could spin in circles,
Then step out in whichever direction I face;
I could poll passersby
For their opinions on each avenue;
I could borrow binoculars
And survey vistas unfolding before my eyes.
I might sit under this tree
Safely out of traffic lanes
Close my eyes
Become still and
Search my soul for the way forward.
Verse 6b: the way of the wicked will perish.
It is the innocent who are perishing.
So many of my country’s people
Are striding our streets
With video-game goggles,
Believing all the answers are bullets.
The enemy here is
Have we really trudged through centuries
Come so far
Only to arrive on this same small path of hatred?
How long, O Lord?
My breaking heart may not hold out
Long enough to bear your timing.
© Shirin McArthur 2016